FiiO E17 Alpen Review – The Hardcore Headphone Amplifier You’ve Been Waiting For

FiiO E17 review

Remember the MP3 explosion from about 11 years back? You know, the one that spawned about five hundred and seven iPod competitors, most of which were total junk, though a few were really quite good? Yeah, that trend hasn’t gone away. And though we appreciate the amount of effort that’s being put into quality pocket listening devices, we sometimes wish a little more effort was being put into a truly rock-solid stereo headphones amplifier.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry anymore. The FiiO E17 looks to be our audiophiles savior, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

 

From the ground-up this bad boy looks to be a real winner. For starters, there’s the brushed aluminum look that has us salivating, as well as the support for USB sound cards, should you feel the need. Additionally, the FiiO E17 headphone amplifier will come stock with two-color OLED displays, and two parallel 3.5 mm headphone outputs built straight into the box itself.

And all of that’s well and good, but if you’re half the audiophile we think you are, we’re guessing want a few more nuggety details. We don’t’ want to leave you unsatisfied, so like James Brown, we’re ready to get up to get down.

The FiiO E17 headphone amplifier will sport S/PDIF input in addition to a single line input, and as far as power is concerned, you’re looking at a proprietary 18-pin connector. That same port will also work with the FiiO L7 dock for easy listening, as well as the E9 desktop amplifier, allowing for cross-product support no matter what gadget you’ve got by the company.

There’s also a standard USB input slot, though, so you won’t be limited to proprietary hardware for your listening pleasure. And if you were at all concerned, the device is built to withstand 24/95 over USB as well as 24/192 over S/PDIF. A feature set we imagine sounds absolutely brilliant at the end-line.

 

On a cooler (or geekier) note, you’re also free to change the firmware, allowing you to tweak the bass, treble, gain, and even balance and pan to your heart’s content. All in all, we’re completely stoked, as the earlier E7 was a phenomenal piece of work, and we have our hopes high that this tinier rendition will be even more appealing to our audiophile desires. If you’re interested as well, you can expect the FiiO E17 headphone amplifier to drop anytime now, arriving somewhere in the neighborhood of $150. No exact word on a release date, but we have a feeling you won’t have to wait long before bringing this sick puppy home to stay—and probably play a bit, too.

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